Want a Healthy Lifestyle? Reap These Benefits of Being Bilingual!Want a new job?
Wish you had better health?
Want a more fulfilling personal life?
Learn a second language!
When discussing the benefits of learning a foreign language, most people think of the straightforward perks right away. You know, that it’s useful to be able to ask where the bathroom is when you visit Beijing, or to be able to ask for directions when you get lost in Barcelona.
But did you know that the benefits of being bilingual go much deeper than that?
Recent research on bilingualism in studies all around the globe have found that speaking another language can improve your life in many ways. Here are some of them (with abbreviated points from the article --rsb).
--------- Workplace Benefits of Being BilingualKnowing more than one language can give you a big boost professionally, and in today’s economy, that’s something everyone can use.
1. Bilingualism can improve your competitiveness in the job market.
- makes your resume stand out (can boost you to the top of the interview list)
- can better understand and market to increasingly diverse populations at home and abroad. ”
- companies with int'l offices want to hire versatile employees who can speak other languages and navigate different cultural expectations.
2. Knowing a second language can open up new career opportunities.
- particularly beneficial if you’re interested in changing careers to a new and growing fields
- translators and interpreters are in the top 15 fastest-growing occupations in the USA
- the military actively recruits (and trains) people with a variety of language skills
- fast-growing fields like travel and tourism, healthcare, and national security need employees with bilingual language skills and the ability to work across cultures
- journalism, education, and international development are other fields always in search of bilingual employees.
- Peace Corps and Foreign Service Officer placements are competitive; language skills can help tip the balance in your favor.
3. Bilinguals can earn more money.
- The financial returns of learning a foreign language vary by language and job, but they can add up to a lot, with German being especially valued.
- Salary.com found that jobs with pay differentials based on bilingualism usually pay 5-20% more per hour for bilingual employees.
4. Being bilingual opens up social and cultural opportunities.
- lets you interact with different people and understand the nuances of another culture
- more opportunities to make friends, explore different hobbies
- better understand your favorite foreign music, film and literature.
- Travel can also be cheaper and more rewarding (no need to travel with a tour group, stay in expensive foreigner hotels, eat at restaurants where there are special tourist menus and/or staff speaks English).
5. Speaking another language gives you a new perspective.
- can help you see the world in a different way
- can help you understand yourself better. (Research has found that bilinguals literally see the world differently. People who regularly speak a second language perceive differences in color variations that are not recognized by monolinguals!)
- many feel “like a different person” when they speak another language.
- significant levels of “frame-shifting,” or changes in self perception have been found among bilinguals
--------- Health and Well-being Advantages of Bilinguals
6. Speaking a second language improves problem-solving, multitasking and decision-making.
- improves brain functions like the ability to focus attention and perform mental tasks.
- “significantly more successful” in problem-solving and creativity tasks
- process information more efficiently and easily.
- do better at tasks that require multitasking and blocking out distractions
- make more rational decisions-- by reducing natural human biases, allowing focus on needed information rather than emotions.
7. Bilingualism can slow the effects of old age.
- especially important in old age
- blocks (or significantly delay -- by up to 5 years) the decline in cognitive flexibility (the ability to adapt to unfamiliar or unexpected circumstances
- especially noticed in general intelligence and reading abilities.